Charvel 750XL guitar restoration

by Robert Veldhoven

Total paint strip and repaint

Yep, another white one...... The original colour is turquoise (also known as foam green, imho). My idea is to restore it, but with a repaint in mind already.

This guitar is one of the first 750's made, still got the massive top what was trimmed down on later models. It is playable at the moment, but in a matter of weeks it's gonna be stripped down totally, so I can rebuild it from the ground up.

Charvel 750XL

C900556, before the restoration: Here it is... sunbathing. Click to switch view, showing front or back. The routing on the backside of this guitar is not original. The previous owner had some kind of elecronics put in with some switches.

I have to repaint it cause the former owner had done a terrible paintjob. There are 5 or 6 layers of paint on this axe, so the tone is choked, but it came with an original HSC though.

Headstock logo

The former owner didn't like the original toothpaste logo, so he had it replaced with an mother of pearl old one. That would not be a problem if it was done properly. I did some research on the headstock as you can see in the pics. The original logo is at a total loss.

To see how it was going to look in a white finish, I made a copy of the toothpaste logo and placed it on the headstock. I decided that for me, white is not going to work. I'm thinking of painting it in the same colour as the 650XL, which is electric blue. The work is still in progress.

Charvel 750XL DIY

Testing how a white, restored headstock is going too look. Click the picture to see the whole guitar (before restoration).

Paint stripping the guitar

The last weeks I've spent scraping off the white paint. It is always difficult to make a beginning because you simply don't know how much layers of paint are underneath the upper layer.

Charvel 750XL DIY

A quick look to see what's underneath the white paint.

As I went along I ran into several layers; to begin with a clear coat, a grey primer, a golden one, some sort of white striping (guess they wanted to make it appear like a bound body), some blue accents, some brown sticky stuff and finally a black spray......... that makes eight layers in total!! That is why the tone of this guitar sounded choked. All those layers of paint certainly have a negative effect on the sound.

All this was done by hand with a simple paintscraper. The trick is not to cut the paint but to break it away from the lower level. Three days of continuous hard labour went into this, but it will pay off in the end.

Sanding and polishing

After the paintstripping I sanded the guitar with 1200 grit sandpaper. To get a high gloss finish I have to work through several grits (1200 - 12.000) to have the surface ready to be polished by hand.

  • scraping paint

Preparing for the paintjob

It's been a few weeks since my last update on this project. I did some other things in between time, so here it is. To prepare the 750XL for its new colour, I had to make some special tools. First I made a rotating knife to cut out the masking for the logo to be and the second tool was a bushing- extractor.

custom guitar tools

Hand made custom tremolo bushings extractor and a special rotating Exacto knife stand for cutting the logo.

Headstock and logo (Part II)

Now it was time to bring the toothpaste back to life. I sprayed the headstock in a white colour and after the paint had dried overnight, I masked the area where the logo is going to be with my hand cut masking tape. Then it was time for the blue colour. In my opinion a minimum amount of lacquer will do the job, otherwise the wood will be choked and therefore the tone of the instrument. For almost all of my projects I use nitro- cellulose clear coat for finishing and this 750XL is no exception, but the headstock will have its clear coat when the rest of the guitar is painted blue too.

son of Robert Charvel toothpaste logo

My son presenting the fresh logo

Pulling the tremolo bushings

To remove the bushings that hold the studs for the Schaller tremolo, I had to make a special tool which I also mentioned above. It's a steel pin which is threaded (M7x1,5) on one side and has a stopper on the other end. The thick steel bushing slides over the shaft and will work like a hammer when it collides with the stopper. In just a few blows the stud- bushings will come out of the wood with no damage at all.

Nifty huh??

To be continued...

The coming last chapter of this project will contain the finishing of this axe. The time has come for me to think about what pickups to use. Perhaps that one of you readers can help me out ??? See my email/website at the bottom of this page.

About the author

Article and pictures by Robert Veldhoven

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Where's the original tootpaste logo?
It's deep down there somewhere... but the original logo is at a total loss.
A quick look to see what's underneath the white paint.
Stripping the paint on the backside. The little green square tool is the paint scraper used. The routing on the backside of this guitar is not original. The previous owner had some kind of elecronics put in with some switches.
What a mess....
The original colour coming back to life.
Almost done...
A try out of a gloss finish.

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